“Deciding to Die, Then Shown the Door” (NYT)

This is quite a story in the New York Times about a couple deciding not to eat/drink any more, and then being forced to leave their care facility:


The New Old Age: Caring and Coping
Deciding to Die, Then Shown the Door
The New York Times
By Paula Span
August 24, 2011, 1:59 PM

In our local support group, we’ve had many people who have decided to stop eating and drinking.  I only know of one case where this decision was treated as a “problem.”  Recently, a woman who had progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) for several years wanted to stop eating/drinking.  The woman was on hospice at this time.  Her daughter talked to the hospice agency about her mother’s wishes.  The hospice agency said that they could not discuss this topic with either the mother or the daughter.  So the daughter had to learn about dying in this manner on her own, and had to rely on others for support during this stressful time.  The mother did decide to stop eating/drinking.  This was communicated to hospice after several days.  At that point, the hospice agency returned to being supportive again (mostly).  The daughter kept in touch with me throughout this process (as we made brain donation arrangements), and reported that many friends and family were able to visit during this time.  The mother died peacefully.  Well before her death, she requested that her brain be donated.  (Mayo Jax confirmed the PSP diagnosis.)